Padraig Slane scored twice and teed up two other goals as Cliftonville Olympic stretched their lead at the top of the Premiership Development League with a 5-2 victory over Crusaders Reserves at Solitude this evening.
Peter McKiernan, Donal Rocks and Thomas Maguire were also on target for Brendan Lynch’s side, who now sit seven points clear of second-placed Linfield Swifts, over whom they have two games in hand.
After a cagey opening to proceedings, the Reds broke the deadlock on 19 minutes when Slane provided the delivery from which McKiernan flicked the ball into the net and it wasn’t long before the hosts’ advantage was doubled courtesy of Rocks’ finish from McKiernan’s assist.
Former Cliftonville youngster Rory Hale pulled one back for the Crues just before the break, however the Olympic restored their two-goal margin almost immediately courtesy of Slane.
The same player would tee Maguire up to notch the fourth shortly after the turnaround, with the duo combining in a role reversal on 68 minutes as the Reds pulled 5-1 in front ahead of the visitors banking a consolation in the closing minutes.